When working on intricately composited, multi-layered documents, I often find it useful to check each of the layer masks before finalizing the image. To do this, Option -click (Mac) / Alt -click (Win) on the mask thumbnail in the Layers panel to display the mask in the image area. With the mask visible, check to see if there are any unwanted or awkward transitional areas that might not have been visible in the complex composite (a sharp edge from a selection or a small area unknowingly left unpainted, for example).
Posts tagged "Layers"
While making changes to an image using an adjustment layer, hold the “\” (backslash) key to toggle between the before state (when you started making changes) and the current state (the changes you’ve made).
When creating composite images, I am often trying to unify multiple elements that were photographed at different times, in different locations, under different light conditions. One of the techniques that I use to establish consistency throughout the disparate elements is to use one of the source images as a color overlay for the entire canvas. In this example, I wanted to use the color from the wings layer to unite the other elements (such as the overly saturated table).
First, I selected the wings layer, duplicated it, and repositioned it at the top of the layer stack.
I selected Filter > Blur > Gaussian to remove detail, while still maintaining the color.
Then, I chose Edit > Free Transform, to flip the layer and reposition and resize the layer as needed.
Finally, I added a Layer Mask and used the Brush tool to paint with black to hide the color from areas such as the figure.
Note: If you want to use more than one layer as the source for your “color”, select the desired area (using the marquee tool or whatever tool works) and choose Edit > Copy Merged to copy the information to the clipboard. Then, choose Edit > Paste. Photoshop will create a new layer that you can reposition, resize, etc. as needed.
For more information about compositing images in Photoshop, be sure to check out my two training courses on Lynda.com:
Command + Shift + C (Mac) | Control + Shift + C (Win) copies a merged version of all visible layers within the selection onto the clipboard.
Option + Command + Shift + E (Mac) | Alt + Control + Shift + E (Win) , pastes a merged copy (of all visible layers) on a new layer above the topmost currently selected layer.
To automatically select Layer Groups (instead of individual layers), with the Move tool selected, check the Auto-Select box in the Options bar and choose Group from the pull-down menu.
To delete a Layer Group, select Layer > Delete > Group or, with the Layer Group selected on the Layers panel, click the trash can icon. Either method displays a dialog with the options to delete the “Group and Contents” (which deletes both), “Group Only” (which removes any Layer Groups but leaves the layers), or “Cancel”.
To delete the Layer Group and all of its contents while bypassing the dialog select the Layer Group on the Layers panel and either drag the Layer Group to the trashcan icon or, Option -click (Mac) | Alt -click (Win) the trashcan icon.
Command -drag (Mac) | Control -drag (Win) a Layer Group to the trashcan icon to delete a Layer Group without deleting its contents.
Here are three easy ways to duplicate a Layer Group in Photoshop:
1) With a Layer Group targeted in the layers panel, Select Layer > Duplicate Group.
2) Option -drag (Mac) | Alt -drag (Win) the Layer Group in the Layers panel until you see a heavy black line between the layers and release.
3) Use the context sensitive menu – Control -click (Mac) | right-mouse click (Win) on the Layer Group and select Duplicate Group.
Layer Groups are an excellent way to organize a complex multilayered document. To create an empty Layer Group, click the Create Layer Group (the folder) icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. The Group will be added above the currently targeted layer. If no layers are targeted, Photoshop adds the group to the top of the layer stack.
To create a new Layer Group while simultaneously placing targeted layers into that group Group select Layer > Group Layers or drag the targeted layers (in the Layers panel) to the New Group icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, or use the keyboard shortcut Command (Mac) / Control (Win) + G. The group will be added above the topmost currently targeted layer.
To ungroup layers select Layer > Ungroup Layers or use the keyboard shortcut Command + Shift + G (Mac) | Control + Shift + G (Win).
Holding the Shift key while dragging and dropping a layer(s) between two documents will place the “dropped” layer(s) into the center of the destination document.
If there is a selection in the destination document, holding the Shift key while dragging and dropping an image will drop it into the center of the selection.
When dragging and dropping a layer into a Layer group, Photoshop positions the layer at the top of the Layer stack (within the group). Holding the Shift key when releasing the mouse will position the layer at the bottom of the stack (within the group).
• Option + “[“ or “]” (Mac) | Alt + “[“ or “]” (Win) targets the layer above or below the currently targeted layer.
• Option + Shift + “] “or + “[“ (Mac) | Alt + Shift + “] “or + “[“ (Win) adds the next layer up or down to the targeted layer(s) (note when you get to the top or bottom of the layer stack, Photoshop will “wrap around” to continue adding/subtracting layers).
• Option + “,“ or “.” (Mac) | Alt + “,“ or “.” (Win) targets the bottom/top -most layer.
• Option + Shift + “,“ or “.” (Mac) | Alt + Shift + “,“ or “.” (Win) targets all layers that fall between the currently targeted layer to the top or bottom of the layer stack.
Note: these shortcuts are essential when recording actions as they help to select layers, but do not record the specific “name” of the layer in the action.
Command + “[“ or “]” (Mac) | Control + “[“ or “]” (Win) moves selected layers up or down. This is a very useful shortcut when recording actions as the specific name of the layer is not recorded.
Control-click (Mac)/ right-click (Win) on the eye icon or the layer thumbnail on the Layers panel to color-code a layer. Note: the Background must be converted to a layer to color-code (click the Lock icon in the Layers panel to convert it to a layer).
To view a Layer mask, Option -click (Mac) / Alt -click (Win) on the mask thumbnail in the Layers panel. Tapping the “\”(backslash) toggles the display of a layer mask on and off (as a red rubylith overlay). Looking at the Channels panel, you can see that this shortcut toggles the channels visibility.
Command (Mac) / Control (Win) + “\” (backslash) targets the layer mask in the Layers panel. Command (Mac) / Control (Win) + 2 targets the layer.